DandyForDaisies

This is a botany blog run by a botany graduate student in Vancouver, Canada. I'm far too good at procrastinating, so feel free to ask me botany questions.


Botany me this   Submit
Even the beetles are amazing here in Colombia! 
Thanks to my friend M for being an convenient backdrop/arm model for this picture.
Sorry, I would add more information but I don’t know anything about entomology. Yesterday, I just learned that bees actually have 4 wings. I’ve been drawing them wrong all this time!

Even the beetles are amazing here in Colombia! 

Thanks to my friend M for being an convenient backdrop/arm model for this picture.

Sorry, I would add more information but I don’t know anything about entomology. Yesterday, I just learned that bees actually have 4 wings. I’ve been drawing them wrong all this time!

Oh my goodness, I have been trying to post a picture of this beautiful tree for ages! When I first saw images of this plant on Tumblr, I as sure they were fake. I’m glad that I was wrong!

First, I was too lazy to take the photo, but then after I had the photo, it would not load onto Tumblr! It’s magically appeared now, so let’s talk about the Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deculpta). Of the family Myrtaceae (includes cloves, Myrtle, guava and all spice), this beautiful plant originates in the general Australian area, but is now grown ornamentally all over the tropics and substropics. I’m sure that you  can imagine why, based on the pictures shown here.

Like many Eucalyptus trees, the bark on the truck sheds in thin papery strips at random times. At full maturity, the bark is a red/brown colour, but the bark underneath is a lively green colour. As a newly exposed patch of green bark matures, it slowly changes colours from blue to purple, to orange, and red, etc. Despite being beautiful plants, they are somewhat weedy and tend to displace other plants. Because of this, they can be used for the pulp and paper industry.

Whew! I’ve been so busy in Cali that I’ve had barely any time to post photos of my adventures! Fortunately, I know next to nothing about these flowers so I have very little to say about them!
In the top photo, we see this unknown plant with wild looking stamens. It looks like the yellow ones have fully opened and are releasing pollen, while the red ones are just starting to open. The uneven opening pattern is actually kind of weird because flowers usually open from one direction (i.e. top to bottom, or bottom to top). It’s possible that I’ve entirely misinterpreted the floral structures here.

The lower picture shows a wacky flower hidden within the canopy layer of the trees. If you look carefully near the centre of the image, you’ll see a small green, dark veined bladder-like structure with a long protruding dark tongue. This the flower of a really cool plant in the genus Aristolochia, or the Dutchman’s pipe. These flowers emit a strong and nasty odour that tends to attract flies. When the flies enter the flower, they become stuck in the flower via sharp hairs and get covered in pollen. They must wait in the flower until these hairs wither. I’m sorry I couldn’t get closer to the flowers because they were high up in the trees. 
I’ll try to share some cooler pictures in future!

Staghorn ferns are some of the weirdest plants out there. I remember when I first saw these organisms in the green house back home, I couldn’t even tell you that it was a fern. Of the genus Platycerium (Platy = flat), staghorn ferns are an odd type of epiphytic (grows on other plants but is not drawing nutrients directly from that plant) fern that produces leaves unlike most other ferns. I think most people would expect a fern to have finely dissected leaves that look delicate almost like a bird’s feather. Staghorn ferns, however produce large, flat and unusually shaped leaves. One set grows basally and serves to protect the short stem and attach the plant to the surface of whatever it is growing on. You’ll often see layers of dead basal leaves at the bottom of the plant, that completely surround whatever surface it is growing on. 

Emerging from these basal leaves are wide, flat and irregularly shaped leaves that are primarily for photosynthesis, and secondarily for reproduction (you’ll see mottled patches of spores on the under surface). As I mentioned, I’m used to seeing these plants only in the greenhouse, but here in Colombia they grow all over the place. As you’ll see in the first picture, the top of the plant in some species can produce a little cup like shape that collects debris and water. In this case, the ferns picked up a bird friend (some sort of dove) who is using the cup as a nest!

Aahhhh, rough night in Cali, Colombia and it’s making me feel a bit homesick. To help alleviate this, I thought it might be nice to share some of the pictures that I took of my garden back in Vancouver. Today we’re looking at Kalmia polifolia, also known as the Bog Laurel. This lovely plant is in the Ericaceae family, which includes things like cranberries, blueberries, arbutus trees and rhododendrons. 

In the images above, the first shows the developing flower buds. I really like the angular folds in the developing petals, which make them look almost like a crown. In the 2nd image, we see the flowers blooming properly. If you look carefully you can see that the pollen producing anthers have little tails (projections near the top of the sac) that are characteristic of this family. 

The Bog Laurel often grows with and is mistaken for Labrador Tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), which is a fragant plant that is often used for tea. It’s pretty easy to tell them part though, because Labrador Tea leaves have an orange fuzz on the undersurface when mature. While Labrador Tea is quite soothing, a tea of Bog Laurel could do some damage. The leaves contain a grayanotoxin that is really bad for you, so make sure you know what you’re collecting!

My Bog Laurel was actually a super deal for me. I was shopping at the UBC Botanical Garden Store, which has a rack in the back for old and retired plants. I found this one little pot for Labrador Tea. They must have used soil from a nearby bog, because volunteer plants had also emerged, including the bog laurel, various rushes, and other beautiful bog plants.

Well, expect to see more Colombia blogging soon. Hope y’all are doing well.

The delicious fruits are among my favourite things about Colombia. One such fruit is the Granadilla, Passiflora ligularis. Related to the purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), the granadilla is a staple fruit of the South American tropics. The purple passion fruit is available in Vancouver where I’m from, but they are generally very, very expensive to purchase. Here in Colombia, however, the Granadilla is so cheap, that they are practically giving them away and I can buy a bag of 7 or 8 for about a dollar. Unlike the soft purple fruit that I’m accustomed to, the Granadilla has a brittle, but crispy outer wall that is layered by a thick section of spongy pith. To eat this fruit, locals just smack the fruit against a hard surface, which cracks the fruit like and egg. They then tear the fruit in half and suck out the tasty seeds on the inside. The seeds have a sweet, juicy layer, and a crunchy layer that is actually quite pleasant to bite down onto.
The plant itself is a woody vine. I haven’t actually seen a granadilla vine yet, but I’ll make sure to snap a picture if I see one!

The delicious fruits are among my favourite things about Colombia. One such fruit is the Granadilla, Passiflora ligularis. Related to the purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), the granadilla is a staple fruit of the South American tropics. The purple passion fruit is available in Vancouver where I’m from, but they are generally very, very expensive to purchase. Here in Colombia, however, the Granadilla is so cheap, that they are practically giving them away and I can buy a bag of 7 or 8 for about a dollar. Unlike the soft purple fruit that I’m accustomed to, the Granadilla has a brittle, but crispy outer wall that is layered by a thick section of spongy pith. To eat this fruit, locals just smack the fruit against a hard surface, which cracks the fruit like and egg. They then tear the fruit in half and suck out the tasty seeds on the inside. The seeds have a sweet, juicy layer, and a crunchy layer that is actually quite pleasant to bite down onto.

The plant itself is a woody vine. I haven’t actually seen a granadilla vine yet, but I’ll make sure to snap a picture if I see one!

Did I mention that I’m currently in Colombia? I’ve only been here a week so far, so take my words with a grain of salt.
Overall I’m having a pretty good time, but I really wish I knew more Spanish. It’s kind of hard to get around with out being able to communicate with others. The city itself is has it’s own beauty, and it’s a shame that the security/safety situation prevents people from enjoying it fully. People hesitate to walk outside past 7, and in general avoid the parks and natural reserves surrounding the city of Cali because of fear.
Anyway, the Colombians were really confused when I show show much excitement over this little plant that I found on the ground. Of the Bromeliad family, this little Tillandsia (sp?), or “air plant” is an epiphyte that lives and grows all over the trees in my region of Cali. As an epiphyte, they are generally rootless, and perch in the trees without damaging them (i.e. not parasitic). Without roots, water and nutrients are simply absorbed through their leaves. When dry, silver trichomes reflect light away and maintain internal moisture. When wet, the trichomes become translucent and allow sunlight in to spur photosynthesis. They are common and popular novelty plants in my city (and I assume in various parts of north america). 
Seeing these plants growing all over the trees and growing rhizomes and new clumps that secure the plant to the tree was quite a treat for me, because I had never seen them growing naturally before. People in Vancouver often just glue the plants down to an old piece of wood! In this picture, you can see the mass of vegetative material growing around a broken off stick. You can also see the old remnants of flowers and their fruit (looks like a capsule, split into segments).

Did I mention that I’m currently in Colombia? I’ve only been here a week so far, so take my words with a grain of salt.

Overall I’m having a pretty good time, but I really wish I knew more Spanish. It’s kind of hard to get around with out being able to communicate with others. The city itself is has it’s own beauty, and it’s a shame that the security/safety situation prevents people from enjoying it fully. People hesitate to walk outside past 7, and in general avoid the parks and natural reserves surrounding the city of Cali because of fear.

Anyway, the Colombians were really confused when I show show much excitement over this little plant that I found on the ground. Of the Bromeliad family, this little Tillandsia (sp?), or “air plant” is an epiphyte that lives and grows all over the trees in my region of Cali. As an epiphyte, they are generally rootless, and perch in the trees without damaging them (i.e. not parasitic). Without roots, water and nutrients are simply absorbed through their leaves. When dry, silver trichomes reflect light away and maintain internal moisture. When wet, the trichomes become translucent and allow sunlight in to spur photosynthesis. They are common and popular novelty plants in my city (and I assume in various parts of north america). 

Seeing these plants growing all over the trees and growing rhizomes and new clumps that secure the plant to the tree was quite a treat for me, because I had never seen them growing naturally before. People in Vancouver often just glue the plants down to an old piece of wood! In this picture, you can see the mass of vegetative material growing around a broken off stick. You can also see the old remnants of flowers and their fruit (looks like a capsule, split into segments).

The Arbutus menziesii trees of BC’s Gulf Islands (and southern coastal regions) are one of my favourite sights to see at any time of the year. While they don’t have terribly exciting leaves or flowers, they do have the most lovely bark. As the tree grows, the outer layers of the bark peel off in crispy shreds, and often large knots form at various points of the stem. I love these trees so much, and I enjoyed seeing them on Galiano Island. At the place where I was staying, I noticed that they owners had a few logs of the arbutus tree in their firewood pile. I couldn’t bear to see them burn these lovely pieces of wood and I snuck one home. I’m not sure what to do with it right now, but it is currently making a great footrest for my computer desk…
These trees belong to the Ericaceae family, which is a diverse group of organism that include things like blueberries, cranberries, Rhododendrons, mycoheterotrophic Monotropa, kinnikinnick, and much much more. A recognizeable feature in the group of plants is the urceolate (urn shaped) flower.

The Arbutus menziesii trees of BC’s Gulf Islands (and southern coastal regions) are one of my favourite sights to see at any time of the year. While they don’t have terribly exciting leaves or flowers, they do have the most lovely bark. As the tree grows, the outer layers of the bark peel off in crispy shreds, and often large knots form at various points of the stem. I love these trees so much, and I enjoyed seeing them on Galiano Island. At the place where I was staying, I noticed that they owners had a few logs of the arbutus tree in their firewood pile. I couldn’t bear to see them burn these lovely pieces of wood and I snuck one home. I’m not sure what to do with it right now, but it is currently making a great footrest for my computer desk…

These trees belong to the Ericaceae family, which is a diverse group of organism that include things like blueberries, cranberries, Rhododendrons, mycoheterotrophic Monotropa, kinnikinnick, and much much more. A recognizeable feature in the group of plants is the urceolate (urn shaped) flower.

If you look carefully at this picture, you can see three different species of plants in this photo. One of them is the orchid that I showed previously, another is a similar species of orchid, and the one featured today is a Scilla violacea (aka Ledebouria socialis), or perhaps more commonly as the Silver Squill, which sounds a bit like a comic book character.
I have to admit that I did not know what this plant was before today, and had to do a google image search for “common monocot houseplant with spotted leaves”. This was all very fortunate of me because it allowed me to chance upon this handsome fella’s blog, StupidGardenPlants, which you should check out for all the cool plants and commentary!
So, what can I tell you about this plant? Not terribly much unfortunately. Based on the floral parts in multiples of 3 (6 tepals, 6 stamens), we can say that the plant is a monocot. The flowers are tiny, and smaller than the nail of my pink finger. They grow one long, tall flowering stalks and are arranged in a raceme inflorescences (Side note: a raceme occurs when flowers grow on a flower stalk and each flower has a little stalk/pedicel that separates it from the flowering stalk). Even though the flowers are small, they flower over a long period of time with the lowest flowers on the stalk opening first.
The leaves, which I should go and take a picture of, form a swollen, purple bulb around the stem and are quite attractive. Apparently all parts of this plant are poisonous (at least to cats), so don’t eat it. 
I wish I had more to say about this beautiful plant, but I don’t really know anything else. Feel free to contribute your own knowledge!

If you look carefully at this picture, you can see three different species of plants in this photo. One of them is the orchid that I showed previously, another is a similar species of orchid, and the one featured today is a Scilla violacea (aka Ledebouria socialis)or perhaps more commonly as the Silver Squill, which sounds a bit like a comic book character.

I have to admit that I did not know what this plant was before today, and had to do a google image search for “common monocot houseplant with spotted leaves”. This was all very fortunate of me because it allowed me to chance upon this handsome fella’s blog, StupidGardenPlants, which you should check out for all the cool plants and commentary!

So, what can I tell you about this plant? Not terribly much unfortunately. Based on the floral parts in multiples of 3 (6 tepals, 6 stamens), we can say that the plant is a monocot. The flowers are tiny, and smaller than the nail of my pink finger. They grow one long, tall flowering stalks and are arranged in a raceme inflorescences (Side note: a raceme occurs when flowers grow on a flower stalk and each flower has a little stalk/pedicel that separates it from the flowering stalk). Even though the flowers are small, they flower over a long period of time with the lowest flowers on the stalk opening first.

The leaves, which I should go and take a picture of, form a swollen, purple bulb around the stem and are quite attractive. Apparently all parts of this plant are poisonous (at least to cats), so don’t eat it. 

I wish I had more to say about this beautiful plant, but I don’t really know anything else. Feel free to contribute your own knowledge!

Charitably speaking, my presence on this blog has been spotty at best. I apologize most profusely for this, alas, thesising does get in the way of plant blogging! Now that spring is upon us, I’ve been inspired to take a few more photos, so hopefully things change around a bit.

Pictured here is one of my orchids, a lovely plant called Dendrobium kingianum a.k.a. the pink rock orchid. I’m terrible with orchids, and I’ve had this plant for many, many years, but this is the very first time it has flowered for me. I’ve spoken extensively about the intricacies of orchid flowers in the past, and you can check out that post here. This genus of orchids typically has thicken stems known as pseudobulbs. This stem is full of water and energy, which allows the plants to withstand long periods of desiccation, which make them super hardy even for a bad orchid grower like me!